Friday, 31 July 2015

“Soft Leadership and Generation Y (Millennials) – Partnering for Progress” ―Professor M.S.Rao

“Power is of two kinds. One is obtained by the fear of punishment and the other by acts of love. Power based on love is a thousand times more effective and permanent than the one derived from fear of punishment.” ―Mahatma Gandhi

The Generation Y (people born in the 1980s to early 2000s who are also known as Millennials) are very intelligent and ambitious. They are rapid thinkers and don’t appreciate bureaucratic bottlenecks. They appreciate working in flat organizations.  They want to grow as chief executives quickly. They are ready to delay their marriages and sacrifice their family life to fast-track their careers. They mean business. Most of them are knowledge workers who can contribute their best with their innovative thinking to improve organizational bottom lines to achieve organizational excellence and effectiveness.

Former GE CEO Jack Welch once remarked, "Generation Y is the most exciting group in the world. They want to do their own thing, they want to change the world. Technology's changed so fast. The internet's come; they can do it."  Gen Y thrive on risk and don’t care for job security. They want to work in a challenging work environment that excites them to unlock their potential. They are strong on social media and appreciate operating in virtual world. They enjoy job hopping as they don’t like to work with one employer. They crave for freedom and flexibility, and are eager to accept leadership roles and responsibilities. They want to explore and experiment new areas because they have fire to grow in their careers. They want to learn, unlearn, and relearn. They want to acquire qualifications and pursue courses to upgrade their skills and abilities to stay ahead of times and technologies. They don’t appreciate working under bosses and leaders. They don’t appreciate leadership and followership. In contrast, they appreciate only partnership. Hence, there is a need for new leadership which is soft leadership that can fill the rising the expectations of Gen Y.

Gen Y employees have very high expectations. It has become a huge challenge for organizations to hire and retain. Some of them resign from companies on silly reasons. It is tough to handle and lead them. The best thing is to make them as partners, and lead them with soft leadership style. As the times have changed, global organizations must change their leadership styles, tools and techniques to hire and retain Gen Y.   They believe in giving respect and taking respect. They are brilliant and amazing. They crave for new leadership that meets their expectations. The soft leadership is the appropriate leadership style that suits their nature and expectations.

What is Soft Leadership?

Soft leadership is a blend of both soft skills and leadership. It is leading with soft skills, communicating effectively, persuading successfully, respecting the team members, appreciating diversity, and looking at similarities to accomplish organizational goals and objectives. During my years of leadership development training programs, some of the participants are not excited with the current leadership styles. They craved for a unique leadership style that caters them, and to handle the challenges in the 21st century. Since I earned my PhD in soft skills, and I am passionate about leadership, I worked on this trigger and created soft leadership. I have authored a book on this concept titled, Soft Leadership: Make Others Feel More Important and published several research papers and articles for eminent international journals and magazines. It is getting overwhelming response globally. One of the award-winning research papers on this concept Soft leadership: a new direction to leadership, URL: is amongst the most frequently downloaded in Industrial and Commercial Training, Emerald UK. 

Soft leadership consists of 11 Cs – character, charisma, conscience, conviction, courage, communication, compassion, commitment, consistency, consideration, and contribution to make a difference in the lives of their partners.  Here are the examples for each C: Mahatma Gandhi is associated with character, Mikhail Gorbachev with charisma, Martin Luther King Jr  with conscience,  Aung San Sui Kyi with convictions, Alexander the Great with courage, Winston Churchill with communication, Mother Teresa with compassion, Nelson Mandela with commitment, John Wesley with consistency, Dalai Lama with consideration, and Booker T. Washington with contribution.  It differs from servant leadership. 

Significance of Soft Leadership for Companies and Countries

Soft leadership is to make others feel important to deliver their goods effectively. It is a people-oriented leadership without compromising task-orientation. It emphasizes means such as soft skills, persuasion, negotiation, and communication to accomplish tasks effectively. This concept can be applied for companies to achieve excellence and effectiveness, and to countries to achieve peace and prosperity.  Hence, let us explore this new leadership perspective keeping the rising expectations of employees especially Gen Y to build a better world.

Explore Soft Leadership

We have enough leadership styles such as autocratic, democratic, delegative, transactional, transformational, servant, and situational to name a few. It is time to adopt this new leadership style.  Hence, let us explore and adopt the soft leadership style to take mankind to greater heights of glory. Let us hand over a better society to our next generations so they can be proud of us. Let us become good ancestors.

“Never lose sight of the fact that the most important yardstick of your success will be how you treat other people - your family, friends, and coworkers, and even strangers you meet along the way.” ―Barbara Bush (born 1925); Wife Of The 41st President Of The United States

If you like this article, Like and share Facebook Page:

Life is great!

Professor M.S.Rao, India
Founder of MSR Leadership Consultants India
Listed in Marquis Who's Who in the World in 2013
Vision 2030 Webinar:
Twitter: @professormsrao  
21 Success Sutras for Leaders: Top 10 Leadership Books of the Year (San Diego University) Amazon URL:

Thanks for reading!

Kindly share your thoughts and comments below, I’m sure someone out there will find your story useful.

Copyright©2015 MSR Leadership Consultants India. All Rights Reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.

This is a nonprofit blog to share Professor M.S.Rao’s passion and vision to build one million students as global leaders by 2030. Please don't cut articles from my blog and redistribute by email or post to the web. The use of this material is free provided copyright is acknowledged and reference or link is made to the Blog  This material may not be sold, or published in any form, or used in the provision of business services to a third party without permission.


  1. Professor M.S.Rao is a global leadership guru who is passionate to build one million students as global leaders. He has a huge number of followers globally including in Malaysia. He gave autographs to his fans in Malaysia in August 2015 who bought his award-winning book. '21 Success Sutras for Leaders' which is widely read by leaders and CEOs globally. I enjoy his training programs. I read most of his books. I love his vision. I am proud to be one of his one million global leaders. Jai Hind!